In Brief

Co-op Live: Harry Styles invests in Manchester’s £350m music venue

The indoor arena will be the UK’s biggest when it opens in 2023

As one of the world’s most popular singers, Harry Styles has performed in some of the world’s biggest arenas - and now he’s giving the entertainment industry another boost by investing in one.  

In just a decade, Styles has gone from delivering newspapers for his Co-op store as an unknown teenager to becoming a backer for Manchester’s new £350m music venue, which is sponsored by the retail giant. 

It’s been a whirlwind rise to the top for the 26-year-old. 

Road to riches

After winning a place on The X Factor in 2010, Styles teamed up with fellow contestants Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik to form pop One Direction.

The band finished third on the TV talent show but went on to achieve a string of No.1 hits in countries worldwide. According to songs rights specialists Downtown Music Publishing, the group notched up total sales of 20 million singles, 11 million albums and more than a million DVDs.

Since One Direction went on hiatus in 2016, Styles has forged a successful solo music career, and has also acted in films including Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and modelled for fashion brands such as Gucci.

And all that hard work has paid off, with Styles now worth a reported $75m (£58m), according to the London Evening Standard.

His investment in Manchester’s Co-op Live indoor arena sees the singer coming “full circle” from his days delivering newspaper for the retailer, says Sky News.

Announcing the deal, Styles said: “Manchester is an incredible city, filled with incredible people, and I couldn’t be happier being involved in this project. It very much feels like coming home. 

“I was drawn to this project on every level, from the opportunities it brings, to the contribution it will make to the city, and, most importantly, that it will allow even more live music to thrive in Manchester. It’s just another sign that this amazing city continues to grow.”

‘Invaluable’ input

Located at Manchester City FC’s Etihad Campus, the 23,500-capacity Co-op Live will be the UK’s biggest indoor arena when it opens in 2023.  

The project is being masterminded by US investment firm Oak View Group (OVG), which announced last month that planning permission had been granted and that Co-op had agreed a 15-year naming rights deal, as SportsProMedia reported at the time.  

The new arena will cost in the region of £350m to construct and will provide a much-needed boost to the events industry, which has been hit badly by the Covid-19 pandemic. And while purpose-built for music, Co-op Live will also be used for sport and business events. 

OVG says that more than 3,350 jobs will be created during the three-year construction phase, and the arena is expected to support a further 1,000 jobs when it opens, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Styles will be “actively involved in the development of the project”, says OVG, and his “advice and consultation is going to be invaluable”.

The company’s president of business development Francesca Bodie said: “At OVG, our vision is driven by a unique view that puts fans and artists first in every decision we make. There’s no artist in the world right now better placed than Harry to advise us on delivering a first-class experience for visitors and artists at Co-op Live. 

“We’re focused on building one of the world’s best arenas in Manchester, and Harry’s advice and consultation is going to be invaluable as we work to deliver that.”

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